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Title [Voices of Youth] It takes courage to be the only one who believes in you
Author perfoming Varaha Vadivu, a wild bear posture.
I was a chirpy kid who loved to dance, and jump around getting busy with some or the other activity that required creativity. Unfortunately though, I was an outcast for a typical Indian family because of my lack of agreement with the education system and to top it all I broke most of the conventional rules as a girl that challenged the usual understanding of the people with a certain socially conditioned mindset. Because of this , I was told that I am a “bad product” in the family and as a result I started doubting myself and grew up to be an under confident and low self esteemed person.
Despite this, collecting all my guts I stood up for my dream to be in Police Services of the country but to my disappointment, I failed.
My strong will power (which I did not acknowledge then) did not stop me on my first attempt, hence I tried again by reassuring myself that someday all the noise and judgments around me will stop when I pass the exam. Well, to my disappointment I failed again and again. For 7 years continuously to be precise even after putting my whole life into this ambition. To top it all I started gaining weight and got surrounded by various other ailments which includes, hypothyroidism and migraine because beneath those guts to take the leap towards fulfilling my ambition was actually sheer tiredness, due to a lack of valuing myself along with the burden of extremely low self confidence that I had to carry every single day of my life.
Everyone around me said, "We told you so...". This was exactly my biggest fear, ‘what if everyone is actually right about me?’
What would you do if your biggest fear came alive? Well, the best part about hitting rock bottom is that from there you can only go up and one thing that a person who has failed repeatedly can teach you is – COURAGE. Even after I hit the bottom, I refused to believe I am a failure and that was my moment of courage. My life started transforming with all the actions I took after that day.
4 years back I decided to learn Kalaripayattu (INDIAN form of Martial Art) just to cope up with the depression and that turned out to be the turning point in my life. Just a small change of adding a martial art into my daily routine made all the difference. The first day itself was so healing. The grand movements of animal’s postures like Elephant and Lioness as well as the concepts and teachings behind each of those movements were nothing less than a rejuvenating experience. To be precise, I felt alive again. I put all my hard work into this and I was shocked to see how natural I was at it. I felt No baggage, hence I was good, really good first time ever.
One day my martial arts teacher called my name aloud in class and said, "This girl is going to make the whole country proud one day". I came back that day and cried my heart out in bed because this was the first time a teacher wasn't disappointed in me. In fact, he was proud and that's when my confidence started coming back and I realized this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. KALARIPAYATTU is such a physically intense martial art that becoming brave and resilient from inside is the only natural outcome. It also made me realize that a Martial Art is not practiced only to learn how to fight inside an arena. In fact; it is a way of life that prepares you to become a warrior in every walk of life.
The biggest gift I got from KALARIPAYATTU is that I started loving myself again like I did when I was a kid. It is important to spread the real character of this beautiful art. It does not only focus on the physical aspects; that is just the visible part, in real sense the first target of any martial art is the control over one’s mind and body, i.e., it enhances self awareness through its intrinsic movements.
Therefore, I truly believe in the power of martial art in leading towards ones’ socio-emotional empowerment. All my ailments that I got during those 6-7 years of hiding inside a shell including the mental health issues have now taken a back seat or vanished within the first 6 months of practice.
Working as a martial artist professionally was never a part of the plan and yet I ended up as one. Today, I am so proud of myself in all the fields of life because now I am satisfied with my journey and progress of working towards my goals every time someone sends me a gratification message for transforming their life by my words and Kalaripayattu, my grit becomes even stronger and I am glad life turned out the way it did.
One take away from me - no matter what the world says, you are not a loser and there will be exactly this one thing that you'll be simply magical at. Never stop believing in yourself. You're all you have.
※ Views in this writing are the author's own.